Alex Rodriguez recently became the 29th man in MLB history to hit the magical 3,000 hit mark. What makes his legend so unique though?
By Robby Sabo
It’s fascinating to think Alex Rodriguez was public enemy number-one in the land of the New York Yankees just a few short months ago.
Now, after he clubbed a first-inning home run off of Justin Verlander to collect his 3,000 hit on Friday night, he’s being shown in the most positive of lights.
Even a Yankee Stadium curtain-call was in order.
The man who was once a pariah in the eyes of Yankees fans was hysterically cheered on Friday night.
This narrative is only one that continues to roll on for the newest member of the 3,000 hit club.
Coming off a fully suspended season – in which he tried to pull the wool over our eyes harder than the New England Patriots during Deflate-Gate – A-Rod was just there for whatever ride was in store for this club in 2015.
During Spring Training Rodriguez played the role of nuisance, a guy who happened to be in the way.
He wasn’t a part of the big picture for Brain Cashman and anything positive he could bring to the table would be an added, unexpected surprise. After all, missing an entire season in 2014 and only playing 44-games in 2013 didn’t help expectations.
This was the case for the man who brought this pain onto himself through his incredibly silly actions.
That was, until, the 2015 season started and Rodriguez starting playing like the superstar of old.
I don’t care who you are, his 12 home runs, 34 runs batted in and .278 batting average has to shock the most optimistic of fans. His current performance, as a 39-year old beaten up and injured veteran, is simply shocking.
While we can argue how A-Rod is getting this done until the cows come home, the fact that he is coming up with these numbers is fascinating.
Has there ever been a sports legend like this who has endured so many public and on-field up and downs throughout his career?
His uncanny ability to shock us in both the positive and negative light trumps any other superstar you want to throw out there.
HIS UNCANNY ABILITY TO SHOCK US IN BOTH THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE LIGHT TRUMPS ANY OTHER SUPERSTAR YOU WANT TO THROW OUT THERE.
The numbers have always been there, but when you think he’s on top of the world, he crumbles down the mountain. Then, just as you think he’s done, he finds a way to climb back up.
Think about it.
The guy has always been ultra talented. That statement goes without saying. When Seattle called him up during the 1994 season as a lanky 18-year old we all saw the talent just oozing out of his 6’3” frame.
We knew we were staring at a future MVP.
The problem he’s always had to contend with has been his inability to truly connect with fans, with the public, and with the media.
Despite his many true attempts to do the right thing and be that guy everybody wanted to see, Alex always found himself as the outsider. He seemed to always do the wrong thing and foul something up on any given night.
This, despite his stellar playing career.
Then, when it was finally revealed that he did, indeed, use steroids, all he did was come up with his most impressive postseason ever. Rodriguez smashed six home runs and 18 runs batted in while leading the Yanks to the 2009 World Series Championship.
Finally, he came through in the clutch just as Yankees fans had always asked him to. But instead of becoming the clean, revered hero Yankees fans always wanted, he turned into the tainted guy who helped tremendously.
Since his arrival in 2004, Yankees fans longed for the day that he’d actually make his mark in October. They begged, they pleaded.
When he finally did, it was all tainted. He missed his chance to morph into a “True Yankee,” (whatever that actually means).
There’s always that big swing of momentum up or down with this guy. There happens to always be a second-storyline.
In any event, it seemed the PED-outing actually freed him. It allowed him to stop thinking so much and let it fly.
2010 was his last 30-home run season. It was his last real productive season in baseball. The following three-seasons, Rodriguez was only able to participate in 265 games due to injury.
At this point, the man’s career it was over.
Now, he’s showing us that there is something left in his broken down veteran body.
From his dominant 2009 postseason and shocking 2015 in the positive light, to the outing of his PED use six-years ago, the constant public lying which lead to the banishment, and everything else “knuckleheadish” he’s acted upon, this guy is the ultimate “Lighting-Rod.”
There is no true legend of sport who has ever gone so far up and down the mountain during his career than Rodriguez has.
And make no mistake about it, despite the many controversies, he is a baseball legend, Hall of Fame or not. Less the PEDs (in a sport that popped them like Pez Dispensers), Rodriguez’s numbers are too ridiculous to ignore.
Only two-men in the history of baseball have over 600 home runs, 3,000 hits and 2,000 runs batted in. One is Hank Aaron, the other is A-Rod.
Forget Barry Bonds, Mike Tyson or even Roger Clemens; Alex Rodriguez is the most unique legend Professional American Sports has ever laid eyes on.
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